Hand therapy

Etymology: from ancient Greek θεραπεία, therapeía (cure), derived from θεραπεύω, therapéuô (to serve, take care of, cure, treat), from θεράπων, therápôn (servant).

Hand therapy treatment is designed to help patients who have had a hand or wrist injury or surgery, as well as those suffering from wrist or hand pain.

What is hand therapy?

The goal of occupational therapy of the hand is to restore the patient’s upper limb ability and ensure a safe and sustainable return to daily activities.

Non-surgical interventions can include a detailed assessment, counseling and a specific pain-free exercise program, a custom-made orthosis, and sports and neuro-proprioceptive taping, and can be used to treat the following types of conditions.

Examples of conditions we treat:

  • Arthrosis
  • Sports injury
  • Ligament sprains
  • Stable and nondisplaced fractures
  • Mallet finger
  • Boutonniere finger
  • Swan-neck finger
  • Trigger finger
  • Crushing injury
  • Skier’s thumb
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Wrist tendonitis
  • etc.

A closer look at the rehabilitation of the hand following a surgery

Our hand therapists also assist their patients through the hand, finger or wrist rehabilitation in the first few days after surgery.

They provide surgical wound care, protective orthotics, desensitization, and state-of-the-art customized safe mobilization plans, while working closely with the plastic or orthopedic surgeon.

Our approach can help patients return to their daily activities as quickly as possible following various plastic and orthopedic hand or wrist surgeries:

  • Amputation
  • Surgery for Dupuytren’s disease
  • Fracture
  • Tendon and/or nerve injury and repair or reconstruction
  • Joint reconstruction and replacement
  • Ligament repair and reconstruction
  • etc.

When and why should you consult an occupational therapist specializing in hand therapy?

It is recommended to seek occupational therapy for your hand as soon as possible after the beginning of symptoms or following an injury or surgery.

Our team includes many of the rare Certified Hand Therapists in Quebec who use the most modern methods supported by world leaders in hand surgery and therapy, and who work closely with many of the hand and wrist surgeons in the Greater Montreal area.

The combination of a quick consultation and our expertise regarding the wrist and hand can prevent a multitude of complications and sequelae (stiffness, adhesions, deformity, persistent pain, loss of sensation, etc.).

However, in cases of obvious severe trauma (open wound, displaced fracture, tendon/nerve laceration, etc.), you should go to the emergency room and see a plastic or orthopedic surgeon before consulting with us for hand therapy.

What should you expect from a session at the wrist and hand center?

The first step in a hand therapy session is the evaluation. Our health care professionals specializing in hand therapy will first assess your hand and upper limb extensively to establish a therapeutic plan tailored to your needs and condition.

Your therapist can contact your doctor if necessary.

He or she will then follow up closely throughout your recovery to support and guide you through the process using a combination of counseling, safe mobilizations, specific exercises, orthotics, taping, etc.

We will adjust our interventions proactively to support your evolution and maximize your results!

What is the training to become a hand therapist? Hand therapy is a specialty of occupational therapy.

A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is an occupational therapist or physical therapist (mostly occupational therapists) who has developed extensive expertise in the assessment and treatment of hand-wrist-elbow-shoulder disorders, and who complies with the world’s highest quality standards of the Hand Therapy Certification Commission.

To obtain this title, a therapist must complete extensive continuing education in his or her spare time over a minimum of 3 years of practice as an occupational therapist or physiotherapist. This includes local, provincial, national or international conferences; reading scientific journals and books on hand & upper extremity therapy and surgery; mentoring with hand therapists and surgeons; hands-on courses in maneuvers, techniques and custom orthotic fabrication; etc.
A minimum of 4000 hours of practical experience in treating acute, sub-acute and chronic injuries of the hand and upper limb is also required.
With all of this, the occupational therapist/physiotherapist can register for the certification exam that tests their knowledge of the best approaches, evidence, and clinical reasoning for all types of hand and upper limb injuries.
Occupational therapists or physiotherapists who pass this exam become Certified Hand Therapists and must stay up to date with other advanced training in hand therapy and surgery, teaching, conference presentations, and involvement with various associations in their field.
This allows them to maintain their certification and title every 5 years.

Certified Hand Therapists are rare – there are only 9 in Quebec. We have two of them at CMI Clinics.

Costs of a therapeutic hand treatment

CNESST and SAAQ clients:

A physician’s referral and an occupational therapy authorization are required.
The costs are covered by the CNESST or the SAAQ.

Private clients:

Direct access – a physician’s referral is not required
Please check our rates for more details

The cost of a hand therapy session is not covered by the RAMQ.

Need a hand therapy session?

Make an appointment quickly and let us heal you at one of our CMI Physiotherapy Clinics

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